Cocoa and products made from cocoa, such as chocolate, have been favorite treats amongst many countries and people. In fact, drinks and products derived from cocoa have been proclaimed by many cultures and civilizations as food of the gods and the food of royalty.
It has been stated that Christopher Columbus, in the latter part of the 15th century, brought back cocoa beans from the New World and introduced them to Europe. Even before Columbus’s experience the Spanish Conquistadors interacted with the Aztec Empire and traded cocoa beans for Aztec gold.
Probably the most important and well loved product derived from the cocoa bean is chocolate. Many nations have gained a reputation for producing a wonderful chocolate that is derived from the cocoa bean. One such nation is the country of Belgium.
History Of Belgian Chocolate
The history of Belgian chocolate really had its genesis when the country of Belgium acquired the Belgian Congo. The Belgian Congo is replete with cocoa fields. This acquisition of the Congo under the authority of the Belgians made the local fields easily accessible and available to process the cocoa beans.
This colonization of the Congo occurred in the year 1885 under the leadership of Leopold II. this colonization was not without its controversy as under this monarch’s leadership severe genocide took place. Despite the ugliness of these actions Belgians have maintained their connection to the Congo and have continued the importing of the cocoa beans.
Currently, the country of Belgium produces 172,000 tons of Belgian chocolate. It is also estimated that there are over 2,000 chocolate retail shops that operate within the country. Many producers of chocolate take great pride in their product and as such continue to make their exquisite chocolate products by hand.
Belgian Chocolate Praline
One of the unique Belgian chocolate confections is the Belgian chocolate praline. This particular product was developed by a Swiss family with the last name of Neuhaus. The introduction of the Belgian chocolate praline occurred in the year 1912 in the city of Brussels.
The uniqueness of the Belgian chocolate praline was the fact that this was the first chocolate product that was filled with another confection. Specifically, the center of this Belgian chocolate is made from cream, nuts or with another chocolate. This chocolate can either be milk chocolate or white chocolate.
Being a serious business and, one in which the quality of the Belgian chocolate is synonymous with one of the finest tasting chocolates in the world, the recipes are a well-kept secret.